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ODI GOAT: Gilchrist v Sangakkara

26 April 2016

Gilchrist or Sangakkara - which superstar should go through to the round of 16? // Getty

Sam Ferris & Adam Burnett


Sam Ferris & Adam Burnett


A three-time World Cup winner takes on Sri Lanka's greatest-ever keeper-batsman - who gets your vote?

The #ODIGOAT is cricket.com.au's knockout competition to determine the greatest ODI player of all time. We started with our top 64 ODI players and now we're asking YOU to do the hard work – that is, narrow it down to one. Set up in much the same way as a tennis tournament, each day you'll see head-to-head match-ups, with the winner of those progressing to the next round to square off with their next challenger. From 64, we are now into the round of 32. Next it will be 16, 8, 4 and ultimately our final. So cast your VOTE and decide just who is the greatest ODI player in history!


ADAM GILCHRIST (AUSTRALIA)

Matches: 287 | Runs: 9,619 | Average: 35.89 | SR: 96.94 | 100s: 16 | HS: 172

Dismissals: 472 | Catches: 417 | Stumpings: 55

From the Vault: Welcome to Gilly's Gabba

#ODIGOAT Voting: Gilchrist was a dominant winner in his round of 64 match-up against New Zealand champion Brendon McCullum, claiming 83 per cent of the vote. He's now up against another legendary keeper-batsman of his era for a shot at the round of 16. 

Why he makes the list: You can find the genesis of Adam Gilchrist's transformation of the wicketkeeper-batsman role with his promotion to the top of the order in one-day cricket. Steve Waugh famously made the call in 1998, sparking a reign of terror on new-ball bowlers for a decade, one which produced 16 centuries, 55 fifties and countless unforgettable innings. In just his second match at the top of the order, Gilchrist peeled off an even 100 from 104 balls against South Africa. Two matches later he reached triple figures again, 118 from 117 balls with five sixes against New Zealand in Christchurch. There was no scarier sight for an opening bowler than seeing Gilchrist impatiently tapping the bat against the pitch with that trademark high-grip for extra leverage. He was player with a sense of occasion, scoring big, and fast, in the three triumphant World Cups finals he played in. Gilchrist's frenetic batting overshadowed his exemplary glovework. Only Sri Lanka champion Kumar Sangakkara has been responsible for more dismissals than Gilchrist's 472. He believed there was more room in the air, and it's in rare air where Gilchrist ranks among the game's greats. 

Performance we loved: In 1999 he pounded Pakistan with 54 from 36 balls at Lord's. In 2003 he was imperious against India with 57 from 48 in Johannesburg. And in 2007, he finally went on with it in a World Cup final, smashing Sri Lanka to all parts of Kensington Oval in Bridgetown with a match-winning 149 off 104 deliveries. Gilchrist took no prisoners, showing complete disdain for legends Chaminda Vaas and Muthiah Muralidaran, nor any of their teammates, crashing 13 fours and eight sixes. But he didn't do it alone. While he formed a colossal 172-run opening stand with Matthew Hayden, it was his partnership with a squash ball concealed in his left glove which proved to be the difference. 

KUMAR SANGAKKARA (SRI LANKA)

The numbers: Matches: 404 | Runs: 14,234 | Average: 41.98 | SR: 78.86 | 100s: 25 | HS: 169 | Dis: 501 | C: 402 (19 in field) | St: 99

WATCH: Kumar's classic BBL cameo

#ODIGOAT Voting: Sangakkara faced a tough match-up in the first round in India's World Cup winning captain MS Dhoni but was the overwhelmingly popular vote to go through to the final 32. This time he faces a three-time World Cup winner... 

Why he makes the list: Kumar Sangakkara's ODI career had been incredible enough, but the manner in which he finished it off at last year's World Cup was something else. Sri Lanka didn't get their hands on the trophy they won in '96, so there was no fairytale, but Sangakkara's personal contribution was a triumph – a history-making four straight hundreds through the tournament. It was a classic sign-off from a classical player; a silky left-hander who was too much for even the world's best attacks when he got going. And that was regularly. Sangakkara began his ODI life as a bustling keeper with a fondness for chatter behind the stumps, slotting into the middle order and immediately producing quality contributions. His batting genius quickly became his chief form of contribution (notwithstanding the 482 dismissals behind the stumps), as he was promoted to No.3 and began churning out hundreds for fun. By the end of World Cup 2015, only Sachin Tendulkar had more ODI runs.

Performance we loved: Among those four World Cup hundreds in succession was a magical effort in Sangakkara's final match against Australia. Chasing an improbable 377 to win, it was clear that Sri Lanka's hopes rested on the genius of the pugnacious left-hander. He was at the crease in the second over, receiving an incredible ovation from a strong contingent of his countrymen among the SCG crowd, and set about his work. Taking on the form bowler of the tournament, Mitchell Starc, and some extreme pace also from Mitchell Johnson, Sangakkara resorted to his textbook strokes – with the occasional flashy ramp – and continued building his score, fellow veteran Tillakaratne Dilshan in tow. While ever he was at the crease, the crowd had reason to believe, and he appeared to feed off their energy, moving to another fabulous hundred in even time. Just as a miracle appeared a distinct possibility, he was gone; but in the process he'd left his adoring Australia-based fans with one final reminder of his brilliance.

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